Breeze is a tilt-sensitive game where you control a gust of wind and blow a virtual flower around a bright sunlit world. It's also nothing like thatgamecompany's Flower.
While Breeze's leafy-green setting may superficially sound like it shares Flower's roots, a completely different breed of game lies beneath. An unassuming puzzler by trade, Breeze's brilliance lies in its simplicity.
Players must guide their flower around a maze-like obstacle course towards the goal. On the way, you'll need to pick up enough sunshine orbs to unlock your exit. And that's the game in a nutshell.
The game's levels are a potpourri of physics-based puzzle fare. There are courses with boosts and breakneck slaloms, some that feature wind or anti-gravity to blow you off course, while others are tight claustrophobic adventures where the walls close in from either side.
Breeze can be played with or without gyro controls. With them, Breeze is like a vegetarian-friendly handheld Super Monkey Ball, a friendly flower replacing Sega's trapped simians, with the need to collect yellow sun totems instead of Dole-branded bananas. Tilting your phone sends your flower flying through the labyrinthine levels, with ridiculous amounts of hand-twisting needed to get through the narrow parts.
Alternatively, you can control your flower via the touch screen, prodding nearby its petals to produce gusts of wind that push the flower away from your fingertips. This is the control method most like the original Xbox Live Indie Games version of Breeze, which launched a couple of summers ago.
Your progress through Breeze's levels using one control method is unfortunately not reflected in the other, so you'll need to find one control scheme you like and stick to it.
Another word of caution, those who have played the original Breeze will find little new in the Windows Phone 7 version. Breeze on WP7 has exactly the same set of 60 levels and a similar difficulty curve, which rises sharply for the last third. If you've battled through these already, you might think twice about doing so again.
There are a couple of definite improvements over the Xbox version, however. Players are now shown the direction of a level's remaining sun icons, cutting down the need for unnecessary exploring while against the clock. Additionally, selected levels now appear to have multiple respawn points if you die. The original Breeze's aggressively sarcastic Game Over messages remain, however. "Nice one!" the game will tell you, as your flower is incinerated by a nearby tiki light. "Reverse win!" it will add, as you slam your phone to the desk in frustration.
Something that should convince all WP7 owners to give Breeze a try - even the small minority who have already played it on XBLIG - is the fact that the mobile version comes absolutely free. Published by Microsoft Studios but funded by in-app ads, Breeze is also Xbox Live compatible, if free Achievements are your thing.
There's something rather charming about the whole package, and its freebie pricetag makes it very easy to recommend. It looks the part, and its medley of mazes and miniature obstacle courses will last you a number of hours.
Like its namesake, Breeze is a stimulating albeit fairly fleeting experience, freely available and enjoyable while it lasts.
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